With the WF-C700N, Sony combines balanced sound quality and practical noise cancelling in a pair of True-Wireless in-ear headphones for a price under one hundred euros. They make an attractive solution for everyday use.
- Favorable price
- Noise cancelling
- Sophisticated app with equalizer
With the WF-C700N, Sony adds an in-ear model with adaptive noise cancelling to their range of affordable True-Wireless headphones.
The WF-C700N are the largest model in the series, and the manufacturer has categorised them above the WF-C500.
This product is available in four colours and comes in exemplary plastic-free packaging. In addition to black and white, they are also available in pastel colours lavender and sage green.
Technical specifications of the Sony WF-C700N
The headphones and charging case are made of matt plastic and weigh just 40 grams in combination. Considering the price, the workmanship is okay, but it didn’t seem particularly high-quality to me. Sony states that the battery life is up to 15 hours: 7.5 hours for the headphones and 7.5 hours for the charging case, with noise cancelling activated. Without ANC, the value is increased to almost 20 hours – these are reasonable values that I was able to more or less confirm in practice. The charging process takes three hours and was carried out via the USB-C interface with a status LED on the charging case. However, inductive charging is not provided.
Technically, the WF-C700N rely on Bluetooth 5.2 and support the SBC and AAC audio codecs, but have no higher-quality solutions. As usual, the functions are controlled via the headphones and the free, tried-and-tested Headphones App for iOS and Android. Unlike many competitors, Sony has dispensed with touch-sensitive surfaces on the outside of the earpieces and replaced them with mechanical, smooth-running buttons.
The Sony WF-C700N in practice
With the correct silicone fittings, the lightweight and ergonomically shaped ear tips fit securely in the ear. However, every now and then, you have to readjust them. This happens, for instance, when you operate the aforementioned push buttons. Despite IPX4 certification, I would not describe these headphones as sports headphones but instead as practical accessories for everyday mobile use. The wireless range was sufficient in terms of range and stability. Pairing was also quick and reliable. Sony plan to add the ability to make multipoint connections with a forthcoming firmware update.
In addition to firmware updates (status 1.01), the well-equipped app allows you to configure the function controls for the left and right earpieces with support for single, double and triple clicks and long button presses. This allows reasonable control of music playback, phone calls, volume and noise cancelling, as well as summoning a voice assistant.
A five-band equaliser with additional clear-bass control is used to control the sound. In addition to pre-sets, user-definable settings are also available so that the WF-C700N can be adapted to suit personal taste. Like all their headphones, the WF-C700N offer optimisation in combination with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio immersive format. However, the form that such optimisation takes in relation to each content provider has not been specified.
Finally, we will consider how they handle control of background noise suppression.
How good is the noise cancelling and transparency mode of the Sony WF-C700N?
The active noise cancellation can be switched on and off. It is not adjustable but packs quite a convincing punch. It results in the creation of a quiet room in which the level of constant, low-frequency background noise is significantly reduced. An annoying diving bell effect does not occur. This separation from disturbing ambient noise is practical for use on public transport, on flights and train journeys, and also in the office. However, complete silence does not prevail. Speech and a residual amount of transport noise reach the ears, as does keyboard noise when typing on a computer. In a direct comparison, the over-ear model WH-CH720N has the advantage.
The reverse transparency mode uses external microphones and supplies ambient noise to your ears. The level of the microphones can be adjusted, and if necessary, it can even be filtered to the mid frequencies of the voice. Since switching this function can be allocated to one of the headphone buttons, it is actually possible to orientate yourself quickly and communicate with the headphones on.
In addition to manual switching, Sony provides a dual automatic function: the headphones can detect the movement pattern of their wearer (resting, walking, running, public transport) and then automatically switch between ANC status and the parameters of the transparency mode. In addition, geotracking can be used to define locations where specific settings will be called up, for example, whenever one enters the office. The user will have to decide to what extent such pre-sets are actually useful. In practice, it worked with adequate reliability, but it also occasionally caused irritations.
Another automatic function switches off the headphones after a selectable period of time. When placed in the case, the headphones deactivate themselves. Finally, you can of course use just one earpiece if necessary.
How do the Sony WF-C700N sound?
I found the performance to be reasonable considering their low price. I had to turn up the level on my smartphone at least 50-60 per cent to get the best results. However, for one hundred euros, you should not expect audiophile sound quality, resolution and transparency. The dynamic 5-mm drivers transmit a quite coherent frequency spectrum, and the noise cancelling definitely provides added value in the form of improved focus on the music. However, I did not notice a significant difference compared to the switched-off state (ANC), even in quiet environments.
In the bass, the WF-C700N was punchy and tended to be a little overemphasised. This is not necessarily a disadvantage for mobile use and could be compensated for (or even overemphasised) as needed via the integrated Clear Bass function. At the same time, the reproduction was quite defined and extended down into the subrange.
Considering the price range, the central midrange delivered good detail resolution along with credible reproduction of voices and instruments of any style – from Nick Cave to Holly Cole, from synthesisers to dynamically played acoustic pianos and even when reproducing densely arranged mixes. Towards the top, transparency and brilliance were somewhat lacking. The design of these headphones cannot keep up with more expensive models. The reproduction of the stereo panorama and the room was also affected. However, you have to bear in mind that these headphones cost 100 euros, not 500.
I found the WF-C700N remarkably good when listening to rock and metal. In the linear setting, they offered the necessary bite for percussive elements and distorted guitars.
Sony’s sound enhancement system DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) is supposed to provide a sound upgrade, especially with more compressed files. The function can be switched on automatically via the app. As with other models, I hardly noticed any differences in the quality of high-quality source material (Tidal HiFi Plus via AAC) whether the function was switched on or off.
Finally, there was praiseworthy good voice quality during telephone calls with adequate simultaneous suppression of wind noise.
For one hundred euros, the Sony WF-C700N are in-ear headphones with decent sound quality and appealing noise cancelling. Sony is further upgrading the WF product line and is primarily targeting price-conscious users who are looking for lightweight, well-equipped True-Wireless headphones for everyday use on the go that you can keep in your pocket. The relatively low price compared to the WF-C500 is fully justified.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Weight without cable4,6 g each; case 31 g
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of hybrid silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- available in goji black, elder white, sage green, lavender
- BT version: 5.2
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP